Sorting Skins by Ryan Racine

Coffee Culture – corner of Queen St. & Erie Ave., Niagara Falls, 2015. Photo by Alannah Mason. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

Sunday afternoons consisted of pressing
five year old flesh
against puzzle pieces, constructing a
cardboard genome. Stuck in monosyllabic monotony
to keep childhood ignorance distilled
from ambiguity.

On Tuesdays, teen intimacies grew in the form
of Queen Street coffee shops, hoisting shy
ankles curled during untimely dates.
Couples waited for conversations to climax,
leaving sweat on lips to
taste like warm milk.

Forget embarrassment and
after parties where cold hands sunk into
heads, pulling hair back behind the ears so
stuttering saliva could cascade
freely into Chippawa porta-potties.
The guiltless eloquence of touch leaves a sensual
lore sliding with voluptuous syncopation.


Ryan Racine earned his master’s of English language and literature from Brock University. He is currently working as a high school teacher and college instructor in Ontario. His poetry can be found in The Steel Chisel, Pauses/Words/Noises, The Brock University Anthology, Pictures & Portraits, Ekphrastic, Joypuke, Weekly Poems, and PACE Magazine.

See other poems by Ryan Racine on the Niagara Falls Poetry Project website:

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